Canadian Pacific corrects inaccuracies in CBC reporting of Field, B.C. derailment

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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CP sets January record for Canadian grain movements
Canadian Pacific

This week, RT&S filed two reports on the calls for an outside police agency to reopen the investigation into the Canadian Pacific derailment and crash that occurred on Sept. 4, 2019 near Field, B.C. The first report was filed Monday and the second was filed earlier today. On Saturday, Canadian Pacific released a statement about the original reports filed by CBC News, which is provided below.

Canadian Pacific Railway Limited is responding to inaccuracies reported by CBC News in recent stories about the February 4, 2019 Field, B.C. derailment.

In the first article, dated January 24th, CBC states: “In a statement, the RCMP said it never had jurisdiction because the crash happened on CP property. RCMP says they’ve never done their own investigation, adding they ‘of course would be willing’ to step in if a request is made.” This same message is repeated in a January 25th article.

“As presented by the CBC this statement is both false and misleading,” said Keith Creel, CP’s President and CEO. “The way the stories are framed is both disgraceful and sensational. The RCMP can investigate whatever it sees fit in Canada, and they have been involved from the very beginning. As I said to CBC previously, we are open and willing to discuss anything with the RCMP, the TSB and all other agencies involved. We have been cooperating fully and will continue to do so.”

Despite what has been reported, the CBC is well aware of the RCMP’s involvement and even referred to it in a prior story it published:

  • From a February 5, 2019 CBC story: “RCMP said they are assisting in the investigation, along with Employment Safety Standards Canada and the B.C. Coroners Service.”

The RCMP also issued a press release on February 4, 2019 outlining its involvement.

As a matter of law, the RCMP has jurisdiction throughout Canada, including on CP’s property:

  • Pursuant to section 18 (a) of the RCMP Act, it is the duty of RCMP officers to investigate offences against the laws of Canada and the laws in force in any province. Section 11.1 (1) of the RCMP Act provides that every RCMP officer is a peace officer in every part of Canada and has all the powers, authority, protection, and privileges that a peace officer has by law. By virtue of the RCMP Act the RCMP not only have jurisdiction to investigate offences that occur on CP property but are duty-bound to do so.

This overlapping jurisdiction is further acknowledged by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB), which is the lead investigator of this incident. The TSB’s mandate, on its website, clearly states: “When the TSB investigates an accident, no federal department except the Department of National Defense and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police may investigate for the purpose of making findings as to the causes and contributing factors of the accident.”

The CBC has a duty to ensure its reports are accurate and not misleading and should immediately correct its stories. Furthermore, the B.C. RCMP media team confirmed to CP that it is available to speak to the CBC and can assist with any required clarifications on jurisdiction and authority and are available at 778 290 2929.

“To be clear, the RCMP was immediately on-site post incident and the RCMP always has the legal authority and jurisdiction to investigate as it sees fit,” Creel said.

CP has cooperated and continues to cooperate fully with all investigations and inquiries from regulatory and law enforcement agencies. Despite assertions from the CBC that investigations have concluded, they remain active, particularly by the TSB and Employment and Social Development Canada. These investigations are independent, complex and in-depth, and as such, take time.

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